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At Home and in the FieldEthnographic Encounters in Asia and the Pacific Islands$
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Suzanne S. Finney, Mary Mostafanezhad, Guido Carlo Pigliasco, and Forrest Wade Young

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780824847593

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824847593.001.0001

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Working-Class Hospitality and Etiquette in a Bowl of Rāmen Noodles in Tokyo, Japan

Working-Class Hospitality and Etiquette in a Bowl of Rāmen Noodles in Tokyo, Japan

(p.184) Working-Class Hospitality and Etiquette in a Bowl of Rāmen Noodles in Tokyo, Japan
At Home and in the Field

Satomi Fukutomi

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter studies the meanings of rāmen consumption in Japan. Through an examination of its popular consumption, the chapter illustrates how identities based on class are created, maintained, and challenged in rāmen noodle shops throughout the city. Though initially considered a low-class food, around the 1990s middle-class consumers began to treat rāmen as an object of connoisseurship, although rāmen maintained its working-class characteristics: low price and quick preparation. This chapter discusses ethnographic fieldwork conducted at one of the old rāmen-ya (rāmen noodle shops) in Tokyo, Rāmen Hideyoshi, in order to examine the ways in which employees and customers at the old, pre-1990s rāmen-ya valorize a bowl of rāmen without losing the working-class characteristics of the food.

Keywords:   rāmen, rāmen consumption, rāmen-ya, rāmen noodle shops, working-class cuisine, middle-class cuisine, Rāmen Hideyoshi, class identities

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